Hindustan Unilever, the country’s biggest consumer goods firm, said operations across manufacturing and supply chain have been disrupted due to lockdown announced by the government to contain the proliferation of Covid-19. “The Indian government has announced a nationwide lockdown for 21 days from the 25th March 2020. Due to this, the operations in many of our manufacturing, distribution centers. warehouses and extended supply chain partner locations have been disrupted. We have had to scale down and suspend operations in most of our operating locations,” Dev Bajpai, HUL’s executive director – legal said in a statement to the BSE.

Most essential and packaged food companies are staring at a huge production and supply cut after factories were shut in several places by enforcement authorities, who also halted movement of trucks, impacting supplies of both raw material and finished goods. In towns where factories are still running, worker strength was at best 50% worker as police restricted worker movement, while many refused to come or have migrated back to their hometowns.

HUL, that makes products across personal, home and food segments, said it is important to meet the demand from our consumers for products which are extremely critical under the current circumstances such as handwash, sanitizers, floor cleaners and hygiene products. “We are therefore working with the government authorities to enable continuity of operations at our manufacturing and distribution locations. The impact on the business operations is difficult to asses as this point as the situation continues to evolve at a rapid pace,” the statement said.

Companies have requested the government to issue a directive that clearly specifies that they too are exempted from the lockdown so that factories, truckers and last mile distribution can operate.

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